Location, Location, Location: How to Determine if a Specific Franchise Will Work in Your Area
It is essential, as part of your franchise education, to compare your franchise territory to other territories in the system. Here are some particular areas to investigate.
Total population numbers
The majority of franchises are sold by territory. The franchisor sets the territory size asked to support that particular franchise. Diligent franchisors will not knowingly sell a territory that doesnât have the population numbers to support their franchise. But they will sell territories that fit their minimum criteria. If you are purchasing one of those marginal territories, you want to find out that up front, and you want to determine if the territory size is expected to increase or decrease in the foreseeable future. Ask the franchisor for the names of franchisees whose territories are similar in size to the territory you are considering. Call them and find out how successful they are.
Ask the franchisor for the standard radius for appealing customers. Is it 2 miles? 10 miles? Then ask for the names of franchisees who have population densities comparable to the densities in the territory you are considering. Call them to find out how successful they are.
A futurist named Andrew Zolli summarized the importance of demographics:
âYou can’t understand the future without demographics. The composition of a society – whether its citizens are old or young, prosperous or declining, rural or urban – shapes every aspect of civic life, from politics, economics, and culture to the kinds of products, services, and businesses that are likely to succeed or fail. Demographics isn’t destiny, but it’s close.â1
When you analyse the demographics of your territory, you will be weighing a number of factors, potentially including gender, race, age, income, disabilities, education, home ownership, number and value of single-family homes, and employment status.Will your franchise drawÂ a broad demographic or does it have specific appeal? If the franchise attends to a market segment – say students, wealthy homeowners, or small business owners, for example, does the territory youâre looking at have enough of those customers? Is their average income and education level in-line with the franchises typical customerâs income and education? Ask the franchisor which territories are similar in terms of demographics. Call them and find out how successful they are.
Do Your Own Research to Get the Best Franchise Information
In addition to talking toÂ existing franchisees, do your own research on current and projected population totals, population density, and demographics, including economic trends. You should be able to find information on line. Go toÂ your local reference librarian to check what s/he has available. Additionally, your state may offer free services.
Donât do the mistake of establishing a franchise purchasing decision on your level of enthusiasm or on what you personally believe will work. Make certain you have a market, and that the market is expected to stay the same or improve over the next 10 years (10 years is a common franchise contract term).
If you are disposed to work hard, becoming a franchise owner can help you attain your financial and lifestyle goals. Just be sure to eliminate as much risk as possible. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line.
1 Andrew Zolli, âDemographics: The Population Hourglass,â Fast Company Magazine, March, 2006.
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About the Author
Since 2002, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to share my experiences in the franchise business by providing coaching services to individuals considering buying a franchise. My objective in this book is the same as in my practice. I want to match the right person to the right franchise and, in the process, share my knowledge about the franchise business.Buying a franchise is an important decision. I know this book will help you.
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